Sunflowers along US-131 in Rockford aim to preserve declining insect populations


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — If you’ve driven along US-131 in Rockford lately, you may have noticed a radiant patch of sunflowers on the side of the freeway.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) explains that they have established a plan to preserve dwindling insect species that are crucial to pollination.

The sunflowers are one such example of MDOT’s plan.

The Pollinator Habitat Management Program aims to provide food, shelter and safe passage to pollinators, in turn benefiting farmers with improved crop production and supporting beekeepers, according to MDOT.

Read more about the program below:

Pollinator Habitat Management Program by WXMI on Scribd

MDOT tells FOX 17 the two-acre plot of sunflowers consists of mammoth and pygmy varieties, adding they did not need to water them this year because of the wet season we’ve paired with the fact that the species planted are resistant to droughts.

We’re told the Bay Region did something similar and saw success along US-127 in Mt Pleasant.

Next year, MDOT hopes to expand the program with a one-acre plot north of the Rockford site and two more one-acre plots within Kent County beside M-37.

Rockford sunflowers

Sara J. Martin / Michigan Department of Transportation

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